Looks Like Freedom

August 15 – September 4, 2008


“Looks Like Freedom,” an exhibition featuring provocative artworks and documents from the late 1960s, will open August 15 at the University of Chicago’s new DOVA Temporary Gallery at 5228 S. Harper Ave. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. That period of history is often associated with events sparked by the confrontation of police and protesters who came from all over the country to protest the Vietnam War. This exhibition offers a different view, asking instead what was going on in art and politics in Chicago around 1968, before and after the convention.

The exhibition presents rarely-shown photographs of the Southside’s “Wall of Respect” and provocative posters by members of Africobra (part of the Black Arts Movement) and the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union; comic books and posters by the Hairy Who (a group that exhibited in 1968 at the Hyde Park Art Center); political posters and ephemera from student groups of the period; and information on urban renewal and the history of Harper Court. Many of the works on view are loaned by the South Side Community Art Center.

The show is curated by a group of University of Chicago students from art history professor Rebecca Zorach’s winter class, “Chicago 1968.” It will also include a discussions and events, including a mapping workshop on Saturday, August 16 from 2 to 5, at which participants can fill in blank maps of the city with memories and associations of 1968; an opportunity to listen to and discuss WHPK radio broadcasts from the late sixties on university-community relations (August 23); a Woodlawn walk and potluck dinner (August 31); and a discussion of issues involved in archiving materials from the late 1960s (TBA).

A film series is organized in conjunction with the exhibition. It will take place at Backstory Café, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. The first screening, courtesy of Chicago Film Archives, is “Out Of The Vault – Year Of Confrontation,” a program of short films that revisits the turbulent week in August 1968 when the Democratic National Convention turned Chicago into the frontlines of a larger political and social conflict.

A website, www.looks-like-freedom.com, will provide further information on events and will include extended catalogue essays by student curators.